The growing need of project stakeholders to know what is going on the fields of their projects had increased the demand for having trust-worthy real time data that can be consumed to provide this information. Of course, the Covid-19 pandemic with the growing requirements to work from home (WFH), social distancing, among other constraints made this need for data more pressing than ever. In addition, the availability of business intelligence and data visualization tools like MS Power BI made many stakeholders demanding more data that they can consume to do their own query, audit and analysis of how their projects are performing. This unprecedented growing demand for data consumption makes it necessary to have a platform to enable capturing the data of all processes needed to manage the delivery of their capital construction projects.
The selection a project management information system (PMIS) platform is not the only investment that an entity has to make but also there is the investment for the culture change from capturing data in a loose and uncontrolled processes to capturing data using controlled processes that embraces transparency and accountability. Nevertheless, selecting the wrong PMIS platform will make achieving this culture change impossible to achieve. Therefore, each entity has to carry out their own due diligence before selecting the PMIS platform that best suits their needs.
A built-in connected platform. Construction projects involve many different people and processes. Project management best practices has identified the areas that need to be managed in construction projects. Those include scope, time, cost, quality, communications, human resources, risks, procurement, contracts, claims, health and safety, document management among others. A PMIS like PMWeb that enables managing all of those processes among others across the complete project life cycle stages eliminates the risk of having data silos which makes it impossible to share information across the entire project.
A platform that delivers real-time information. Entities need to have a 100% Web-enabled platform that enables capturing real-time data from the many processes needed to manage projects to enable delivering real-time information to project stakeholders anywhere, anytime using any device. Nevertheless, having a 100% web-enabled platform does not mean violating regulations for self-hosting the captured data. For example, although PMWeb is 100% web-enabled zero-foot-print solution, nevertheless, it provides entities with the option of public cloud also known as SaaS or private cloud by self-hosting the solution.
A platform that offers appropriate admin controls, to enable sharing only the right information with the right people. One of the challenges when it comes to delivering capital construction projects is that access permission rights is not only limited to the individuals from the entity managing the PMIS but also the other entities involved in delivering the project which could include the project management consultant, design consultants, supervision consultants, contractors, supplies among others. As a minimum, a PMIS should enable setting access permission rights to authorize users to access projects, project management processes, fields within each project management process and folders in the document management repository. In addition to those access permission rights, PMWeb allows setting conditional security based on contracts and other factors.
A platform that can integrates with other tools. When it comes to managing capital construction projects, the use of dedicated planning and scheduling tools like Primavera P6 and MS Project is very common. A PMIS like PMWeb enables importing the schedule data from those applications. In addition, it is also very common to use MS Excel to capture the details of technical and drawings submittals, cost estimates among others. PMWeb allows importing this information in their intended modules.
In addition, PMWeb provide the API integration tools to enable integrating PMWeb with ERP applications, property management systems, third-party document management systems among others. This enables bi-directional of data to eliminates data input redundancy as well as provide an integrated visualization of projects’ performance.
A platform that is easy to use — for everyone. A PMIS like PMWeb comes ready with most of the input forms needed for project management processes as well as the form builder allows creating the other needed forms. All those forms have the fields that are common to all those individuals involving in managing construction projects. Nevertheless, PMWeb allows creating pre-defined list of values to fill those forms to eliminate the chances of wrong entry.
A platform that comes ready with business intelligence and reporting tool. A PMIS like PMWeb comes ready with Microsoft SSRS reporting tools to enable creating the output reports and dashboards in the desired form and format. Those reports and dashboards will have the drilldown functionality to enable the reader to drilldown to review additional details on reported information.
In addition, using business intelligence and data visualization tools like MS Power BI, direct access to PMWeb database can be established to enable stakeholders to consume PMWeb data. Those tools enable stakeholders to query, audit and analyze the projects’ data in an interactive format.
Another advantage of using applications like MS Power BI is the ability to associate PMIS data, say PMWeb, with other data sources and applications. For example, the PMIS data can be associated with maps, Building Information Model (BIM) models among others. Unlike data integration, data association requires only to ensure that the data from the different data sources have a common field between the two data sources. Those could include for example project number, WBS level, project schedule activity, cost breakdown structure, building system object, building asset, location, GIS spatial coordinates among others.
A platform that enables localization of captured data. Although English language tend to be the common language used when delivering capital construction projects, nevertheless many countries have requirements to capture data in the country official communication language. In addition to Latin languages, many other countries use non-Latin languages like Arabic. PMWeb allows capturing data in any local language as well as change the solution interface to the same language to enable non-English speaking individuals to also use the PMIS.
About the Author
Bassam Samman, PMP, PSP, EVP, GPM is a Senior Project Management Consultant with 40-year service record providing project management, project controls services and project management information system to over than 200 projects with a total value in excess of US $100 Billion. Those projects included Commercial, Residential, Education and Healthcare Buildings and Infrastructure, Entertainment, Hospitality and Shopping Malls, Oil and Gas Plants and Refineries, Telecommunication and Information Technology projects. He is thoroughly experienced in complete project management including project management control systems, computerized project control software, claims analysis/prevention, risk analysis/management (contingency planning), design, supervision, training and business development.
Bassam is a frequent speaker in topics relating to Project Management, Strategic Project Management and Project Management Personal Skills. Over the past 40 years he has lectured at more than 350 events and courses at different locations in the Middle East, North Africa, Europe and South America. He has written more than 300 articles on project management and project management information systems that were featured in international and regional magazines and newspapers. He is a co-founder of the Project Management Institute- Arabian Gulf Chapter (PMI-AGC) and has served on its board of directors for more than 6 years. He is a certified Project Management Professional (PMP) from the Project Management Institute (PMI), a certified Planning and Scheduling Professional (PSP) and Earned Value Professional (EVP) from the American Association of Cost Engineers (AACE) and Green Project Management (GPM).
Bassam holds a Masters in Engineering Administration (Construction Management) with Faculty Commendation, George Washington University, Washington, D.C., USA, Bachelor in Civil Engineering – Kuwait University, Kuwait and has attended many executive management programs at Harvard Business School, Boston, USA and London Business School, London, UK.